Does God Always Answer Prayer?
Two of my dear friends and I start out each week with a call at 8:00 a.m. Monday mornings. We have known each other for decades and have also done career ministry together; assisting many men and women in their search for new jobs or careers. We were introduced to one another as we were all committed to the ministry of career transition and I was asked to come in and join the effort as one of the previous leaders had found a job – he was moving on. The three of us were together on the infamous morning of 9/11/01 and have seen countless stories of the work of God throughout the years.
With the pandemic, we have ceased meeting in person but have, instead, set up a weekly Zoom meeting. This has been going on throughout the summer and depending on the day, the discussion may start out lighthearted or get into serious issues rather quickly. The topics are never scripted and we all expect the Holy Spirit to guide our time together.
This week, we got into a deep topic right away. We pondered the question as to whether God answers every prayer or not. Most people I speak to have an immediate response – of course, God doesn’t answer every prayer. After all, how many times have each of us asked God for something that doesn’t happen? Or God is silent in responding to our petition. We don’t hear an audible denial but, nonetheless, we don’t get what we asked for.
Rich reminded us this week that God does answer each prayer – but, and this is an important BUT, there are three possible answers. Those answers are: “yes”, “no” or “wait” – and sometimes it is called “not now”… Most of us understand the “yes” or “no” answers but we aren’t so quick to embrace the request from God for patience – to “wait”.
We aren’t a people who want to wait – we want instant gratification and we aren’t so good at cooling our jets. We want what we want – and we want it now! But that’s not the way that God works. Sometimes, God is pruning us, asking us to get stronger and face those things in our lives that are tough. Other times, our petition may be in accordance with the will of God, but our timing isn’t quite right. However, waiting seems to be the order of the day when speaking with God.
So… Roger, Rich and I reaffirmed our belief that God answers all prayers – just not necessarily in the way that we would like… and there are many Scriptures that refer to prayer and how God responds. Our verse for tonight is from the prophet Jeremiah 33:3-4, “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to come to Him in prayer. That’s a very important part of our relationship with Him. And, by the way, when we don’t even know what to ask for or pray for, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf and provides prayer support for us. My prayer is that we can have such confidence in our relationship with God that we will bring Him our cares and concerns – and rest assured that our requests will be answered – even if it isn’t the answer that we have been looking for. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…